Applying for Reduced Valuation of Damaged Property
Many Nebraskans have experienced flood damage from the March 2019 flood. Legislative Bill 152, adopted in 2019, allows property owners to file with county officials to have the value of their damaged property reduced for their 2019 property taxes. This Q & A explains the process of how to apply to have your property value reduced if you suffered significant 2019 flood damage.
Who is eligible to apply? Persons owning real property (land and/or buildings) that was damaged in the 2019 flood. This new legislation applies more generally to any damage from a natural disaster occurring in 2019 of thereafter but we will concern ourselves with the 2019 flood.
What requirements must be met? The natural disaster must have occurred before July 1 and must have reduced the value of your property by at least 20%. Any damage reported cannot have been caused by the owner or tenant. If you are filing on residential property, a housing inspector or health inspector must have determined that the property is uninhabitable or unliveable.
What is the deadline for filing the form? July 15 of the year when the damage occurred.
Where do I get the form? You can download the form from http://www.revenue.nebraska.gov/PAD/forms/forms.html. (Look for Form 425, Report of Destroyed Real Property.)
Where do I file the form? You must file a copy with both the county assessor and the county clerk of the county where the damaged property is located. You must file separate forms for each tract of land for which you are seeking to have the value reduced. If you have damaged land in more than one county, you must file in each county.
What information do I need for the damaged property form? Some of the information (legal description, property identification number) will come from property tax statements. Much of the rest will come from information you probably have already gathered in applying for disaster relief programs.
What information do I need to document the property damage? Photographs, letters from FEMA or USDA, and contractor repair estimates would all be helpful to document the loss of property value. With agricultural land, another option would be to estimate the difference in agricultural production between 2019 (expected) and 2018 (actual) or a long-term production average if 2018 was an unusual year. You may wish to attach a sheet describing in detail the property damage to each tract of land. County assessment teams may choose to do on-site inspections.
What happens when I submit my property damage form? The second page of the property damage form contains the instructions for completing the form and explains the county process for deciding the damaged property valuations. It explains how to appeal if you disagree with the county’s decision. You should keep your own copy of everything you file with the county. If your property value is reduced, your 2019 property tax payments in spring and fall 2020 will reflect that lower property valuation.